What to Do

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So You've Had a Loss … What to do Next

(From the Cumberland Insurance Group)


Following a fire, smoke or water loss, many home owners attempt to remedy the situation themselves. Without proper training and equipment, your well-intentioned efforts can result in more harm than good. Here are a few tips to follow should you have the misfortune of sustaining a loss:

  1. Don't clean any room surfaces or furnishings. Improper cleaning methods may permanently set stains or soil.

  2. Don't send smoke saturated clothing to a dry cleaner. Normal dry cleaning can set smoke stains and odor.

  3. In the event of smoke damage, do not clean walls that are painted with flat paint.

  4. In the event of electrical or water damage to appliances, contact a reputable appliance repair person to check the affected appliances to avoid short circuiting.

  5. Clean smoke damaged laminated plastic or chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bath to prevent tarnishing and wipe residue from porcelain bathroom fixtures to prevent etching.

  6. Lift draperies off water damaged carpets and hang on drapery rod by looping through a plastic coat hanger.

  7. Punch small nail holes in sagging ceilings to allow water to drain.

  8. In the event of windstorm damage to a roof, call a roofer to do emergency repairs, i.e. tarps or plywood over damaged areas, etc. Tack down loose shingles to prevent further damage. Then protect personal property (contents) from outside elements.

  9. Find out beforehand where water shutoff valves are located. In the event of water damage, turn water off.

  10. In the event of theft/vandalism, notify local police immediately. Give police a list of items known to be missing at the time and advise them of additional items discovered missing. Keep receipts for large items in a fireproof box or an off-premises container to aid in establishing values.